I don’t think REM was thinking about December 21, 2012 when they wrote that song… but last New Year’s Eve I had a conversation with my sister-in-law Mona that might be weighing on some people… worrying some people… at least in the back of our mind… as the calendar is almost about to tick off the tenth month of 2012. Thinking about the END TIMES is heavy. No doubt. It isn’t the type of conversation that I usually have, but as we sat there in her living room in our New Year’s Eve party clothes… about to go out for a night on the town… we started talking about predictions, intuition, coincidence vs. things happening for a reason.
Am I worried about a Mayan prediction? Mona “feels” like something is going to happen? Good/Bad/ Different… no doubt change is going to happen in some form – it always does. She “feels” things though… like me, she is looking for and aware of signs. It’s just that some signs are not always easy to interpret. She told me a story about how she was in New York City the weekend before 9-11 and knew that something terrible was going to happen… to the point that no one could console her… to the point that she was physically ill. Of course she didn’t know what it was. Would she have even believed it if she knew… or would she have talked herself out of believing? Would she have rationalized her fears away? I’m pretty sure that no one else would have believed her if she was standing and shouting out on the street corner to beware. People would have passed her right by… thought she was crazy at best. Kind of like we do those preachers that prophecy the End Times. We don’t want to hear about that… but guess what? Even if the DoomsDay predictors are wrong, we are all mortal. The END is coming… at least as we know it. How do you feel about that? I don’t want it to happen. I have babies I want to see grow and grand babies I want to hold one day… but as far as my soul? I feel fine.
Is there meaning to everything, or are some things just strange coincidences? Is it a coincidence that December 21, 2010 was the night that Mona, and my husband’s ( and their other two siblings) father died after a long, sad, horrible illness? I didn’t know the man, but I have heard enough about him to know that he was one in a billion… like my Grandfather… my Daddy John was the closest thing to a saint that I have ever known… and my Grandfather died on St. Patrick’s Day. Is that a coincidence? Is the Mayan calendar ending a coincidence or did the ancient Mayans just choose not to continue doing things the same way, so nobody bothered to continue a system that was no longer needed? I don’t know… and I’m not going to think too hard on it.
Am I worried about the END?
In Luke 12 (yes, 12 as in 2012…. 12 as in my favorite number my whole life ) Jesus says,”But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Or Mark 13: 31-33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
Does it give me comfort to know that THE TIME is unexpected? In my opinion too many people think that December 21, 2012 is the day… so my reasoning tells me it isn’t. When God decides it is time for the world to stop, I will not be able to prevent it… or maybe I will…with a world of people who are praying with me. Prayer is a powerful thing… and who is to say when this world passes away …when it really is the end of the world as we know it…that there can’t be something far better? A real Heaven on earth? “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in Heaven.” It gives me comfort to know that Jesus also says in Luke 12 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
So… it might be in a minute ….an hour… a day…a month…. we simply do not know. But it will be one day.
I want to be ready.
When I was in college I sang for the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation traveling choir and a group called PALS. The two solos that I regularly sang when we would do performances were: “One Day at A Time” …. “One Day at a time, Sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking of you. Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone, Sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord for my sake, teach me to take, One Day at a time.” and “Tomorrow.” “Jesus said ‘Here I stand. Won’t you please let me in?’ And you said, ‘I will, tomorrow.’ Jesus said, ‘ I am He. Who supplies all your needs.’ And You said, ‘ I know… but tomorrow. Tomorrow… I’ll give my life tomorrow…. I thought about today… but it’s so much easier to say…’ Tomorrow? Who promised you tomorrow… better give your life today. Cause tomorrow very well might be too late.”
I am starting to think that the pain that I have been through and all of the hardships that I see my friends and family and people in my community go through are really blessings in disguise. My mother-in-law sent me an e-mail this week and part of it said, “If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer? If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a deliverer? If you never had a trial, how would you know that you could overcome? If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a comforter? If you never made a mistake, how would you know I am a forgiver? If you knew all, how would you know I will answer you? If you never were in trouble, how would you know I would come to your rescue? If you were never broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole? If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them? If I never corrected you, how would you know I love you? If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me? If your life was perfect, what would you need me for? Love, Jesus”
People are smart and clever… we come up with some pretty good explanations for how things work… but what we know is so little in comparison to what there is to know. When we believe we have everything under control… it is an illusion and we are destined for a reality check. We have no control, and the sooner we hand over the control and admit that we can’t do it on our own, the sooner we can sit back in the comfort of knowing that we don’t have to get lost anymore. Someone other than us actually knows where we are supposed to go… and He knows the way to get there… He doesn’t have to stop at the convenience store to ask directions… He drew the road map for EVERYBODY IF we are willing to trust Him to take us. No more detours, turning around, fear and frustration… how would that be? Sounds great to me.
When we get too comfortable with our life and think that we have everything we need… when we start believing that it because of our work and our brilliance and not because of God’s generosity that we have all of our blessings… we might find that our things that we thought were so important get stripped away. Relationships …. health…. wealth…. sometimes, until like Job, we are left with nothing. Then we have two choices. We can blame God… or we can see that God has taken the “things” away so that we can see that everything we worshipped instead of Him were barriers to our ever knowing real happiness. All we need is love. And God is love. All we need is God, and the sooner we understand that the only reason we have any of the other “stuff” is because God wants us to be comfortable and happy. But “stuff” in and of itself will never make us happy.
It may just be the “season” I am in right now… but it seems like a lot of people who I know are being stripped of things. I hope that it doesn’t take them long to realize that they don’t have to “woller” in their misery. Again, the first step to recovering is realizing that no matter what has been lost, the most important “thing” has never gone away. The only thing that truly matters is always constant… always available… always enough.
We need God. And we need each other…”for we are all members of one body…Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
I hope my words can be an encouragement for you. But how do you go from where you feel like nothing right is happening to knowing that it will turn around? Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” And in Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God… I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘ Go throw yourself into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I say, before you can be the change, or have a real change, you have to know exactly what you want… you have to SEE it in your mind, and believe not only that it CAN be, but that it already IS. See it so clearly and in so much detail that when it presents itself to you, there is no doubt exactly what it is. The question is, what is the desire of your heart? In great detail? Is it a lot of stuff? You very well may acquire it…. but what if the desire of your heart was a feeling of joy? happiness? peace? gratitude? love? Is that something you desire over an object? Objects will be there too… all the things that a person could want or need… ironically it doesn’t have to be one or the other. They can co-exist as long as the order of importance is not wrong. The “things” will come if we don’t care so much about them. Once we switch our focus to God and what He wants for us then He will provide what we really need…and the things we have, will be what we want… and enough.
In The Secret we are taught that our lives are truly made by the dominant things that we think about. “If you can think about what you want in your mind, and make that your dominant thought, you will bring it into your life…the law of attraction is a law of nature. It is impersonal and it does not see good things or bad things. It is receiving your thoughts and reflecting back to you those thoughts as your life experience. The law of attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about.”
Are you worried or are you at peace? I am not going to worry. I don’t know what the rest of this year holds, or how it will end… but I am going to try and make the most of every second that I am given. I am going to try to focus on good. I am going to try and follow the words of Og Mandino, “I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.
“And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice: and his heart will be opened.”
Lisa Nichols says, “When you want to change your circumstances, you must first change your thinking.” Instead of self-pity and concentrating on what is going wrong… what if we started each day, before we even put our feet on the floor, thinking about the things we had to be grateful for? What if all day long we tried our very best to have a thankful spirit that noticed all of the small gifts of everyday life… sunshine, a bluebird, a call from a good friend…
I don’t do this “living life with gratitude thing” perfectly… but I am striving to learn this lesson. I don’t want to let bitterness interfere with all of the things that could be lovely. I don’t want to have regrets that I have wasted time throwing myself a pity party over trivial things when the bigger picture is I AM ALIVE! I AM HEALTHY! I HAVE WONDERFUL PEOPLE TO SHARE THIS LIFE WITH. I AM LOVED, and I KNOW HOW TO LOVE. If I can remember the “bigger picture” I can live in a state of thanksgiving and readiness for whatever comes…in the next few moments or over the next 60 years. Life is hard, but the answers really are simple. Love God and love each other. Nothing else will last… in fact, the other junk just gets in the way. And if the “junk” or the superfluous in your life is gone… no matter how painfully it was ripped away, count your blessings. Now is the time to grown nearer to God. Now is the time to get ready for our promising future.